I think your underestimating Red hat

Story: The Real Sun versus Red Hat StoryTotal Replies: 18
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Oct 08, 2004
8:46 AM EDT
Couple quick stats

Red Hat Total Cash (mrq): 997.75M Market Cap (intraday): 2.48B Total Debt (mrq)²: 600.00M

Sun Total Cash (mrq): 535.00M Market Cap (intraday): 5.65B Total Debt (mrq)²: 1.60B

From this perspective Red Hat is a lot healthier and stronger than Sun. Sure Sun is bigger, but sun needs to take the bulk of the 1.6 billion from MSFT and apply it to debt.

Sun needs to clean up it's act. It can survive tech wise but it won't without proper leadership.

Red hat has owned up to it's faults and is working today to correct them. Also people keep thinking Red hat is small, but they have a billion in the bank. Sure I don't like their pricing but hey Suse is just over their waiting for me.

Oct 08, 2004
9:31 AM EDT
7.3 Billion is cash and equivalents for Sun. Funny.

They used to do this lab in Psychology 101. They would bring 10 people into a room and they would face a blackboard. It had ten lines on it.

The fifth line was clearly the longer line. The Teaching assistant would ask each person which was the longer line. They would say the fourth.

Of the ten people in the room, nine were told to say the fourth. A vast portion of the time the one person who didn't know, also said fourth.

In examination, the people conducting the experiments concluded that the lone person being test actually had altered perception. Perception became a major part of my studies. The scientist who wrote about this was named Solomon Ashe and the phenomenon is referred to as social perception.

This message was edited Oct 8, 2004 12:39 PM

Oct 08, 2004
10:10 AM EDT
Okay just to see I looked up Sun's total's According to Yahoo Finance Sun is worth

6.8 Billion

vs Red hat's 2.09 Billion

We won't argue the slight difference between your sun #'s and yahoo's numbers

What you are saying is though, that Sun needs all the properties and items it has bought in the past 20 years to make it look like bigger than Red Hat?

To counter that you woould pull out the cashflow where Sun is 10 times Red Hat's size. But let's look at this. Gross Profit from Sun is Roughly .08% of it's reveune, Red hat is 57%.

Sun is bigger because of it's age, not it's operations. Red hat is Growing and making money, Sun is shrinking and losing money.

If Sun can't stop it's own losses it's going to lose no matter what. Sun could play fair and compete or it can kiss MSFT and watch it's head get bitten off.

Oct 08, 2004
10:31 AM EDT
The massive losses at Sun come from write-offs of old assets and investments in things like Cobalt. They also have significant R&D - as most firms do when they go through an unprotected reorganization.

Sun is actually 47 times Red Hat's size not including iForce partners in terms of employees and facilities.

But you know, I don't want to debate that.

I'm really sad that the article did not resonate with you as a reader.

If you still believe Sun is bigger because of its age and Red Hat is growing and getting bigger while Sun is falling, you missed the point.

As a consultant, I cannot go to market with Red Hat -no matter how big the opportunity. That's what I'm trying to say - they don't have the resources to pursue opportunities. If they are growing why can't they put people on a pursuit? They don't have the bandwidth and they forgo the revenue and profit.

That's not a problem with Sun.

I'm sorry you can't see that.

The fifth line is the longest.

This message was edited Oct 8, 2004 1:36 PM

Oct 08, 2004
11:31 AM EDT
I don't think you are understading me.

Sun a 40 year old middle weight champion, after years of not having a good challenger , Flabby and soft, but still has a head full of experience

Red Hat a 20 year old in almost peak condition but doesn't have any experience and still needs a couple more years of training .

This match will go to Sun, Simply because they have the experience.

When Red Hat starts to get more and more experience under their belt Sun will really feel it.

You are also forgetting Novell, Novell once they get under way already has the experience, but needs to begin to proprogate through out Suse.

Sun can make an amazing comeback, They have the talent, the experience, and can regain the bulk of their strength. They can not due this by being wishy-washy. If Sun is so open source why did they leave Open office out to dry? If/When Solaris is Open Sourced expect a MSFT shared source style license. Why because Sun doesn't really know what it wants. Does it have to be GPL, NO but I expect all changes to Solaris will have to be approved by Sun.

Who told you the fifth line is the longest? Maybe it was the 6th. Are you sure the 5th line is the longest, did you bother to measure it, or are you just trying to be different.

Oct 14, 2004
6:24 AM EDT
If the best you have to offer is platitudes, then you might want to examine your own information. Obviously we have a clear difference in our positions. I didn't present disinformation and mental manipulation in the article. Your argument sounds like the reiteration of popular media statements. People with no facts to back an argument always run to the speculative stance of "everything is relative".

I know what I wrote because I did my homework - something still consider a craft by some members of the profession.


Oct 14, 2004
8:41 AM EDT
{I know what I wrote because I did my homework - something still consider a craft by some members of the profession.}

It's also not done very often today. For that you should be congradulated.

I see Sun differently though. I see they have potential, but they don't see it. Their management says one thing, and then says a contradictory statement . Sun wants it both the new and old ways, They hav e to choose which way to go.

If Sun was truely Serious about Open Source why ar e they open sourcing Solaris, a product from which they make money, and wish to keep closed Java, a product for which they don't have a good financial ROI. Java is a staple of the community and does give back to Sun in other less tangible methods. It doesn't have to be GPL per se just a GPL like license in which all changes must be puhed back to the community, with a non-profit funded by Sun, and other businesses to set the actual Java standard.

Sun could be the biggest Linux company. Sun could create their own Distro and go head to head with Red hat and Suse. Instead Sun creates an interface, and puts Suse or Red hat, or even Solaris underneath it.

So how is Sun going to be the biggest Linux company when Sun doesn't even have it's Linux distro. Like IBM Sun is using anotehr Distro for their work. Unlike IBM Sun doesn't have anything else to fall back on. IBM isn't betting their future on Linux, IBM is using Linux to enhance their future. All Sun is doing is fighting change.

Oct 14, 2004
8:59 AM EDT
I wish I could get my money back for that Linux based JDS book I bought. It appears that it's already out of date:

[url=http://news.com.com/Sun releases Solaris-based desktop software/2100-1016_3-5408544.html]http://news.com.com/Sun releases Solaris-based desktop softw...[/url]

Oct 14, 2004
4:36 PM EDT
Void _Main

It's not out of date. R3 for Linux is due out around March. You can get many of the updated components off of the http://jdshelp.org site. We even have the 2.6.8 kernel up, samba 3.0x, etc.

You also won't see that much change in the distribution. Instead of SLES 8 as the underbelly - it's SLES 9.

Also, I don't know where you bought the book, but you can get your money back from Amazon maybe someone else.

I wanted to create a product that was self contained. So the book and CD Rom became important components of that product. Someone can pick up the book, run the live CD and learn Linux by following the the written material. They don't have the risk on installing Linux. They can work on almost any computer regard less of what's on the hard drive, etc.

Also, the next edition of JDS will be very similar to the current one with the edition of lots of hardware drivers and more suitable for Laptops.

A lot of people have continued to use JDS 2003 and decided not to upgrade. That's not uncommon in companies.

Oct 14, 2004
5:24 PM EDT

I had many of the same considerations you expressed until I began working directly with the team last December. And my co-author, Sam Hiser, has a two year history with Sun because he was the marketing lead for openoffice.org.

When we began writing Exploring the JDS Linux Desktop, we just wanted to upload it to Consultingtimes.com and let people have it. But, O'Reilly wanted the book and many people at Sun wanted to see it released by a publisher with wide distribution capabilities.

http://jdshelp.org has worked to help Sun meet customer satisfaction expectations. The site was an after thought which filled an important need. When we launched it, we thought maybe Sun would be mad about it. But they were just the opposite. They welcomed it.

OpenSolaris will begin sometimes at the end of the year after Solaris 10 becomes available. The community relations manager said they have not settled on a license yet. But, Solaris will be open sourced - at least a version of it will be open sourced.

Sun does have their own distribution of Linux. However, they started with the idea of using Red Hat as the original distribution under the desktop. When Red Hat became too difficult, they went with SuSE. Then IBM got worried about the Sun/SuSE relationship and engineered the Novell purchase. That created some problems since SuSE had contractual relations with Sun and others.

Also, the Chinese distribution isn't SuSE. So, the behind the scenes manuvering of IBM cost SuSE. That's 1 million copies now OEM'd to a Chinese company.

The total rollout in China is 200 million units. Sun will act as an advisor for the final rollout and 12 Chinese companies will deploy Linux.

I was an IBM Influencer partner for two years. I sold the first application to go on a mainframe to Winnebago Industries and it got IBM's Linux initiative off the ground. As far as I know, during the two years of 2000-2002, I was the only IBM Linux Influencer Partner. IBM assigned resources to me and we got rewarded.

Many companies have influencer partners. The arrangements vary from company to company but they boil down to receiving a commission on sales that someone influences. In my position with IBM, I learned so much about them and their initiatives.

Today, I don't have an influencer position with anyone. I need to remain independent. That takes me a little further away from the decision makers but I don't mind that. I wasn't thrilled to hear the things I did at IBM. As a result of that, I have zero respect for IBM. You think Microsoft is a predator. You ain't seen a predator if you think Microsoft is the king of that jungle. They learned their lessons from the real king of the jungle. (I'm using metaphors on purpose - I hope you can read between the lines.)

Knowing what I do about IBM, I would recommend to the world that Java stay proprietary. If not, say hello to .Net as the only technology for web services. This is one of those areas where you have to read another article I wrote called How to Misunderstand Sun's Desktop Strategy. http://www.consultingtimes.com/javadesktop.html

That's a long article, but it explains Microsoft's strategy for ending Linux and everything else. The only company standing in the way right now is Sun. Don't forget, IBM is one of Microsoft's biggest vendors.

Now, regarding the executives at Sun, I want to say something in their defense. Have you noticed how the open source community has shifted it's hatred for Microsoft to SCO and Sun? How do you think Microsoft pulled that off?

If you doubt that Microsoft controls the media, I wish you would reconsider than. I was contracted to write a special section for Forbes on Open Source. The constraints had much to do with Microsoft. Imagine what it might be like to have to write so that you don't offend a magazines' largest advertiser.

Take that and multiply it by every major media group in North America.

Microsoft has managed to turn our attention away from them and on to others.

I also know of instances where Jonathan Schwartz and Scott McNeally were purposely quoted out of context. They said one thing and the next thing you know, it's printed as a sound byte in a body of a paragraph totally unrelated to its original context.

All I can say about this Sun's execs is they are learning. Also, they are good people and have good intentions. If you were in their shoes, knew what they know about Red Hat's operations to take over UNIX and forget Microsoft - you might be a little displeased.

Solaris allows Sun to compete with Red Hat in the data center. That's the only place Red Hat competes with Sun. Other than that, Sun's competitor on the desktop is Microsoft.

I hope that makes sense.


Oct 15, 2004
9:34 AM EDT
tadelste: sadly what you say it just too easy to believe particularly about how topics become off limits when too much cash or powerful people are involved.

Oct 15, 2004
11:27 AM EDT
I finished reading your link, not so easy to do at work with many valid points. What I don't understand is how is Java safe from IBM if it's proprietary? If Sun GPL's Java IBM can fork it, but if no one uses that fork it's useless. You still need to adhere to the standards. Hence why I said a non-profit funded by Sun to set the Java Standard. To make sure it doesn't get taken over by IBM. Why does IBM want Java GPL'ed well for it's own sake of course. Expecting anything less from a company is foolish. IBM probably has something else in mind as well. Just remember though when Sun goes belly up Java still loses. Unless Sun can reverse it's present cash problems this will happen in a few years. It has far more debt than profit to offset.

I know several people who work for them. IBM is in Linux for the money. IBM from what I can tell sees Linux as a means to something else. Not sure exactly what and though curious all I can do is look for more. As for Windows, IBM installs what people ask them to. Why doesn't IBM offer the choice though, well they aren't ready for it is all i can guess. Linux isn't ready for everybody yet(then again neither is windows) IBM is a big company with it's hands in everything. IBM also only Open Source's software that it really can't make money off of. Is IBM Altruistic? Well that depends on how many eyes you have open.

As for SCO well SCO had a very vocal anti-Linux, Linux is stolen, you can't fix it attitude. That sort of arrogance doesn't go over well. It's what propelled SCO to the top of the bashing list. Sun's attitude toward Open Source is wishy-washy and the community in general has a resentment toward that. I also think there is another resentment in the community about Sun in general. Not sure why but I have seen it.

Sun folded to MSFT & Kodak. Sure lawsuits are expensive, and Sun had already lost to Kodak, and what did Sun's management say? We will vigorously defend Java(not word for word) What happened a week later, Sun payed Kodak $92 million. Now Kodak can sue every other group that produces a JVM and others. Sun just allowed Kodak to kill Classpath, DotGNU, and Mono. Some friend of Open Source. Kodak is evil for bringing this patent out, but Kodak isn't a software company. If Sun is such a friend to the Open Source community why did it decide to become partner's with MSFT. I can see why they stopped fighting(lawsuits are expensive), but why partner's. Even MSFT doesn't see a future for Solaris. In a year I would be willing to bet Sun has either broken off with MSFT or working on .NET for JDS. That is the price you pay for partnering with the Devil.

If Sun is are being quoted out of context, then Sun should be very vocal about that. As for attacks on writers well that's part of the problem with writing to a mass audience that can reply. Most can't be civil about it. As I have said I don't agree, all I can do is try to understand your side, and see if you can do the same to mine. I think your winning in the bulk of this thread. Most people are not capable of this unless they are face to face. Some aren't even then.

Forbes is biased against anyone with less than a billion in their personal bank account. Since MSFT has more billions than Sun, MSFT is better. Daniel Lyons a Forbes author is nicknamed Lyings in certain circles for his biases. As for the other media, if you look the bulk of media only reprint PR. They don't dig for facts. With groups like Yankee and Gartner, who are supposed to be independent MSFT doesn't need to control the media to manipulate it. MSFT has set themselves up a circle of friends that were/are respected. If the media bounce between those circle points with out checking facts then it's very easy to manipulate the media. It took a year before the Media started realizing that SCO was full of hot air, and are more careful what is said by SCO now.

Oct 16, 2004
8:56 AM EDT

>What I don't understand is how is Java safe from IBM if it's proprietary?<

IBM has already attempted to highjack the java programming language and the community process. Java has a community and that controls the java programmng language. It's called the Java Community Process.

Microsoft highjacked Java and calls it .NET. IBM started its own tool process and began Eclipse basically bolting from all the other firms cooperating together.

IBM has shown itself to be a devoted confiscator of technology. I feel safer knowing Java is in the hands of people who wouldn't branch it off. I also have had dealings with the person at IBM who would branch it. I consider him one of the most ruthless people in technology.

Another thing, IBM has ported the Lotus client and productivity products to UNIX and some technicians have ported those to Linux going back to 1999. So, why did the AIX version of Lotus notes client get put on some Linux engineers laptops at IBM and then kept from the public? IBM has its own turf war going on and people who want to support the desktop get fired if they try to do something. I have seen it.

>Sun folded to MSFT & Kodak. Sure lawsuits are expensive, and Sun had already lost to Kodak, and what did Sun's management say?<

Let's see, when did Sun fold to Microsoft? I believe they won the trials. If you mean Bill's love in press conference then folding means jumping through hoops on McNealy's part. He did have to cross over the line to get his 2 billion.

All I can say is that Sun got into operational problems because Scott had to be pulled kicking and screaming through the layoffs of employees. So, I fault him for not making cuts earlier and second for being in a hurry to get the Microsoft litigation behind him. I've been in litigation a few times and I know that I wanted to get out of it. If you haven't been through it, it's a terrible time.

As far as Kodak -- Sun has protected their licensees. If you're saying that Sun has a responsibility to non licensed offshoots of Java then that's a stretch. And, I am not a fan by any stretch of the imagination of Mono.

>If Sun is are being quoted out of context, then Sun should be very vocal about that.<

Not every one on this planet believes that being vocal is the best course of action. Better strategies exist. I've been in business a long time and have run several companies. One of the things they don't teach people at Harvard Business School is an interesting axion: What you resist persists.


Oct 16, 2004
12:29 PM EDT
>>One of the things they don't teach people at Harvard Business School is an interesting axion: What you resist persists.

Oct 17, 2004
11:26 AM EDT
tadelste: You sound so much more reasonable when pounding the big boys in promoting Sun than you were when Red Hat was the target. Hint: while I am still cognizant of Sun's past contributions I remain skeptical of many of their schizophrenic actions (for now I will ignore the discordant words).

Oct 19, 2004
4:25 AM EDT

Interesting take. Red Hat was the target. Interesting that I didn't consider them a target. In fact, I don't recall targeting anybody.

Sometimes people appreciate having a context or perspective. Here's the persepctive: Sun has 32,600 employees Red Hat has 700. Sun has billions in revenues and Red Hat has 100 million.

If you want to do a pursuit for a project, Sun has the resources, Red Hat is stretched.

I'm not promoting Sun and doubt that anything I might write, say or do would promote them.

That said, I read so many thoughtless, unresearched, venemous statements within the open source community, perhaps gaining perspective is useful. If I have something of value to offer then it must be useful which means to serve the purpose of another.

Does it serve the purpose of this crowd to say - here's a different perspective?

Here's another thought for you to consider. I chose RHEL 3.0 AS for the JDShelp.org community website.

I just sent a version to one of the JDShelp developers to use for building rpms.

I think this whole Sun thing is part of Microsoft's strategy to make open source people stop hating them.

If Microsoft can divert the attention of the community to SCO and then Sun, it's hard to have a single minded focus on the real villain. What's changed about Microsoft that people have started laying off them and going after Sun?

I even think SCO is a useless distraction.

For me, the target remains Microsoft.


Oct 19, 2004
2:55 PM EDT
tadelste: Admitately, now I cannot find the statements that gave me the very strong impression that you were pounding too heavily upon Red Hat in your defense of Sun. I believe it occurred in a discussion of the top brass of Sun seeming to make contradictory statements on successive days or it could have been the thread where it first came out that Sun had made no arrangements to protect OpenOffice.org from potential action by MS.

I found and read your comments in "The Real Sun vs. Red Hat Story", but that writeup was new to me and it was not the instigator of my semi-snide remark. Just too busy at the moment to pursue it, sorry.

Let me say, while I have not directly worked with Red Hat I have indirectly seen them in action at a large client. Sometimes it makes more sense to grow the business more slowly so that a high degree quality service to your clientele is assured. This may be what Red Hat is doing even if it must fore go potential business.

Oct 19, 2004
6:26 PM EDT
tadelste: For me, the target remains Microsoft.

I suppose its Sun's target too... but as a partner, not as competitor. Microsoft and Sun are working on deep integration plans... plans ... and I quote "Red Hat will not have this" level of integration between Solaris (and anything else Sun may claim ownership over) and Microsoft protocols. This is more of a focus than JDS at the moment. It is considered strategic whereas the JDS is merely leverage.

The goal is the elimination of Samba (and Red Hat, etc), however, as Sun puts it, the community as a whole "will not have this" technology... ONLY Sun. Also... and this one will kill Sun in the end, Microsoft and Sun will work on bridging technologies between .NET and Java. This plays right into the hands of what Microsoft is wanting ultimately out of this relationship, the elimination of Java and eventually Sun (Solaris, Unix-Linux and whatever else Sun might have). Sun believes that they have the winning hand (Sun only deals in win-lose deals)... but Microsoft is not a friend, no matter how much they say they are (Microsoft also only deals in win-lose deals). A battle of egos. Pride will be Sun's downfall.

You may feel free to counter any of this... but I have more than enough evidence to back up what I've stated here. The Real Sun vs. Red Hat Story needs to be put aside... it's a "story"... Sun has a much bigger agenda, JDS is merely one element (JDS on Solaris of course, vs. the now obsolete JDS on Linux).

Oct 19, 2004
8:40 PM EDT

That's fine. The issue is not Red Hat's business plan. The issue is that people are shooting at the wrong target. And, people would do anything to be right including make up stories and claim to have evidence they don't have.

I will share one thing and that has to do with the suggestion above that Sun and Microsoft are trying to kill samba. That's totally unfounded.

I've been facilitating a large JDS conversion with a US Fortune 100. The two unmet requirements are compatibility with Exchange and JES and mutual authentication on JES Identity server and Active Directory. Those happen to be the the development currently under the JV agreement.

The other item (and this is more of a hope than anything else) is incorporating drivers and the WMP codec so we can play DVD Roms.

That's the scope of the cooperation.

Finally, Sun has not left openoffice.org out in the cold. That's a subject resolved long ago.

Time will take care of this issue and things will get back to normal.

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